Andrew W.K.

The Wolf

(Island)

*

It's funny, because no one can quite get a handle on Andrew W.K.'s steez. His last two releases are on Island Records, he wrote a song for Kit Kat, he's on a Coors commercial, and yet he sprang from the underground noise punk label Bulb Records as just a regular hard-working guy who loved, most of all, music. He's not just a corporate puppetÉ or is he?

I've seen Andrew W.K. live twice and he barely plays an instrument. Sure, he bangs on the keyboards every once in awhile and sprays bottles of water around while doing cheerleader jumps, but besides that, he just sings and runs around. Sure, that's a talent in itself, but rumor has it Andrew used to perform anyplace he could when he lived in NYC. Starbucks, a street cornerÉ it didn't matter to Andrew. But what was he doing back then? Obviously not spraying bottles of water on venti non-fat Vanilla Latte sippers. What is his talent, exactly?

After hearing W.K.'s new album, brilliantly titled The Wolf, I'm fairly certain that Andrew himself is not brilliant, and that his train is running out of steam. The album plays like a string of action-movie climax songs. You can practically see Mav and Ice Man high-fiving on the runway of the aircraft carrier, or Tom Cruise waving from his racecar while doing a victory lap. The songs also resoundingly bring to mind Meatloaf's impassioned "I Would Do Anything for Love (but I won't do that)." It's a record full of more cacophonous party rock ballads, although the homogeny of the album kills the effect of any one selection. Song like "Long Live the Party," "Free Jumps," and "I Love Music" fail to inspire me to crack open a brewski. Instead, they leave me examining my fingers for signs of new hangnails. I don't blame Andrew W.K. for milking the success of his debut album, I Get Wet, for all it was worth. I don't even blame him for the "Guys Night Out" commercial. A one-trick pony knows the jig is going to be up eventually; at least Andrew had the sense to see it coming. Ultimately, I think he's just a really dedicated stupid person.